(50 – 0- Infinity)

In this exercise you will begin by counting backwards from fifty to zero, synchronizing the counting with your breathing, and then proceed to riding the breath non-verbally. Sit with your back straight and eyes closed. Be comfortable.

Inhale gently. As you exhale, mentally say “fifty.” As you breathe in again, mentally say “forty–nine,” exhale “forty-eight,” inhale “forty-seven,” exhale “forty-six,”… and so on. Count the even numbers as you exhale and the odd numbers as you inhale.

Count backwards on both the in-breath and the out-breath until you reach twenty, then count only on exhales. Silently count “twenty” as you exhale. Then, instead of counting “nineteen” on the in-breath, do nothing, just inhale. With the next exhalation count “nineteen”. . . inhale don’t count, exhale “eighteen”… and so on until you reach zero.

When you reach zero stop counting, but stay aware of the natural flow of breath in exactly the same way as when you were counting. Watch the breath as though you were going to count, but don’t count. Ride the flow of breath non-verbally, sit absolutely still, and be so relaxed that no movement occurs. Let your body feel as though it could be still, sitting for hours, knowing it will only be a few minutes. Be very aware of how you feel as you do this. Notice how pleasantly alert you are. Familiarize yourself with this feeling. Be here several minutes. Then open your eyes and return.

As you do this exercise, breathe normally; do not do deep breathing or control the breath in any way. This is important. You are learning not to be in control. You are learning to get out of the way, and yet remain wide awake and relaxed. Therefore, do not control the breath. Allow it to freely flow in and out at its own natural pace-and yet, stay aware of the breath. Keep track of the numbers. As the breath comes in, count; as the breath goes out, count. And when you reach zero, stay aware of the breath non-verbally. There should be no strain in your breathing as you do this. Keep it soft and easy.

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